Brasero, the latest concept from El Che Steakhouse & Bar Executive Chef & Owner John Manion will bring bold, wood-fired Latin cooking to West Town’s bustling restaurant row. The concept was born of Chef Manion’s love for the live-fire cooking of Brazil that captured his imagination as an eight-year-old living in San Paolo. Set to open on Tuesday, February 6th, the menu blends South American culinary traditions with a Midwestern sensibility.
“Brasero is a full circle moment for me,” says Executive Chef and Owner John Manion. “I started thinking about the neighborhood, where I lived for about 25 years. Thinking of the beginning of my career on Division Street, working at Mas. I look back to that era and the neighborhood speaks to me. Brasero is not just another culinary venture, it’s a tribute to the flavors and experiences that shaped me into the chef I am today.”
The menu will consist of small and large plates, including charcoal-kissed seafood, grilled pork chops inspired by La Sirena Clandestina, and slow cooked-over-charcoal chicken. The preparation for the chicken involves brining and marinating young birds, slow roasting over charcoal, and finishing on the grill, with fermented garlic sauce, chili oil, and special “chicken salt,” a blend of herbs, salt, and dehydrated chicken skin.
Guests can expect big, bold flavors with an emphasis on technique. One standout dish on the Brasero menu is a take on feijoada, the Brazilian national dish. Brasero’s version features a smoked and braised giant beef shank served with black beans folded into bomba rice, creating a unique twist resembling a black bean risotto. Accompanying the dish are flavorful elements such as fermented collard green kimchi and orange mostarda, providing a customizable dining experience.
The wine list, curated by wine director Alex Cuper, leans fresh and playful, focusing on low-intervention pours from up-and-coming winemakers in South and Central America. The list will feature 100 different bottles all under $100. The goal is to highlight the exceptional quality of South American wine at an exciting price point, allowing guests to explore and experiment. A list of composed cocktails also complements the menu such as the Panther Milk featuring Cachaça Germana Caestrano’s, creme de cacao, fermented banana, lemon, black sea salt and coconut flakes.
Located at 1709 W Chicago Ave, Brasero represents a return home for Chef John Manion, who fondly recalls the beginning of his culinary career in the neighborhood. The restaurant features 120 seats in the dining room and a 18-seat bar. Reservations are now available on OpenTable.